This post was written by Matt Whitehead, Director of the Egoscue Portland. Clinic and is an excerpt from a blog post from Egoscue Nashville. The client xrays were provided to Egoscue Portland by Egoscue Austin clinic.
Xrays of Degenerative Knee & Cartilage Damage - Before & After Posture Alignment using The Egoscue Method.
When people hear “bone-on-bone” (knee, hip, wrist, ankle etc.) most people (including well-meaning doctors) think “it’s too late to do anything, time for a replacement.” This line of thinking comes from the idea that our bodies are like machines. “When your cars’ brakes are worn-out you need to replace the brake pads with new ones and then your car is back to normal.” There are two problems with this line of thinking:
1. We have yet to (and probably never will) “build” a replacement part that is close to and as good as the original part (but medical science will never stop trying)
2. Machines are dead and our bodies are living – meaning we are able to rebuild our own parts at the rate of 500+ billion new cells a day!
When not replaced, the worn-out brake pad on your car will continue to wear away every day because the car does not have a means to repair/rebuild it on it’s own. But our bodies do! Our bodies are constantly repairing and rebuilding everything from our skin (we have all seen this happen after a cut or scrap) to our bones (observed in people who have healed a broken bone or raised their bone density) to muscle tissue, brain cells, nerve cells, cardic muscle, and even cartilage. The key to getting that “bone-on-bone” joint to repair itself is to make sure the reason why the joint was wearing away in the first place is corrected. That has to do with the postural position of the joint and the dysfunctional movement that has been happening. Correct that and the body will repair itself.
John Elder of Egoscue Nashville talked about Pete Egoscue and cartilage in a recent blog post:
When Pete released (his book) Pain Free back in the early 90s, he made the claim that you can regrow cartilage and took a LOT of heat for saying so. Everyone thought he was crazy and dismissed his theory. If you don’t have a copy of Pain Free, here is what he has to say on page 107:
“As for the ‘irreversible’ cartilage loss, why of all the tissue in the body would the cartilage be the only one that does not regenerate? The answer is that it does regenerate. Laboratory experiments in Sweden have shown that under the right conditions cartilage, like any tissue, can be grown. Moreover, sports medicine practitioners have long recognized that athletes increase their cartilage density and shock-absorbing capacity during proper training.”
Once again, he was crucified for this statement. In his own words from Pain Free for Women he says, “That statement drew a barrage of criticism from doctors, researchers, and physical therapists. When cartilage is gone, they scolded me, it’s gone, and nothing short of a miracle will bring it back.”
Well, if it’s a miracle they want, then it’s a miracle they’ll get. Thanks to Rick Mathes in the Austin Clinic for providing these x-rays (read his full blog post about this client HERE). A client working with one of the therapists was told he had to have his knee replaced. Take a look at the first xray picture from April, 2004 and you’ll understand why the doc suggested it.
To help explain what you’re looking at, it’s as if you are facing this client. His right knee is on your left. Notice that on the far left hand side of the image there is decreased space between the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia (lower leg bone). Loss of cartilage, right? I agree. This guy is surely headed for a knee replacement...or is he?
Take a look at the second set of x-rays from July, 2005, just a little over a year after the first were taken. Notice the uniform spacing between the femur and tibia. It’s a miracle! The cartilage is regrown! While I agree the cartilage is regrown, I don’t believe it necessarily qualifies as miraculous. Instead, I believe the client took charge of his health and put faith in his body that it can heal itself. What a remarkable difference, and all without going under the knife. When you switch from being symptom-focused (i.e. loss of cartilage and needing a knee replacement) to being cause-focused (i.e. why did the cartilage degenerate?), a lot can happen. Change the position of the knee joint, give the cartilage room to grow, and it will.
I love that there is finally ‘proof’ that Pete was right all those years ago. The body is an engineering miracle. It’ll heal itself if you just give it an opportunity. Keep moving!
Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.